Tax investigations: What to do when HMRC comes knocking

Your business could be picked out of a hat for a tax investigation.  However, the Taxman now has extremely sophisticated software and tools to analyse your accounts and tax returns.  These days it is more likely that a business will be quickly and easily targeted for an investigation if it stands out for any of the following reasons:

  • Late filing of tax returns
  • Unpaid tax liabilities
  • Errors or omissions on tax returns
  • Fluctuations in tax returns (a drop in income, or increased costs)
  • You receive a tax refund (common for VAT returns where sales are zero rated)
  • Your income levels do not match the ‘norm’ for your business sector
  • Exceeding turnover thresholds for various tax schemes and not acting accordingly
  • You work in a high risk industry that has been targeted by HMRC
  • Your income levels are not consistent with your standard of living
  • HMRC receives a tip-off

HMRC could investigate your business in relation to its CIS, PAYE, VAT, Corporation tax or Self-Assessment Tax Returns.

Don’t Panic

Whilst HMRC may have found an inconsistency in your tax returns, or highlighted a risk area, there could be any number of legitimate reasons for this.

In most cases we find that providing HMRC with full answers to their questions, and sending them the necessary documents and evidence, will lead to them simply agreeing with your tax calculations and moving on.

What to do

  • Keep high quality accurate records
  • File returns on time
  • Pay your tax on time
  • Seek advice from TorrWaterfield

Contact TorrWaterfield – 0116 2423400

If you do receive a letter from HMRC, contact us straight away.  We can assist you throughout the entire tax investigation. 0116 2423400

We will:

  • Offer help and advice
  • Contact HMRC on your behalf, replying to their correspondence by post, email and telephone
  • Use our premises for meetings with HMRC
  • Appeal against HMRC’s decisions if necessary
  • Keep you updated throughout the whole process

Fee Protection

Many investigations are concluded after one letter, meeting or phone call.  But some can be on-going for months or years.

We encourage all of our clients to take out our fee protection.  ThStuart Caney April 2012is typically costs £190 per year.  We can then recover our cost from a third party, rather than charge you for our services. 

Stuart Caney, Accounts & Tax 

If like many of our clients you wish to benefit from this please contact Hollie Crown now for a personalised quote.

The benefits of becoming an apprentice

By deciding to do an apprenticeship the transition from school into the working world was made a lot easier. I still wanted to learn and get qualifications but I found this difficult to do in a classroom as the learning was not hands-on. By doing an apprenticeship I gained intimate knowledge of the work environment which I could not have done in a classroom.

With apprenticeships there are excellent progression opportunities with different levels you can do. With the support of a skills assessor you can easily work out the best course for you, which for me was a level 2 NVQ in Business & Administration. Because the work involved in completing the NVQ was based on my job role, it was easy to complete and I could take skills I learnt from my apprenticeship and use it in my job role. I’ve now progressed on to a level 3 NVQ which I am due to finish in the next couple of weeks.

I was also able to free up some of our existing staff’s time by helping with the work they may not have currently had time to do. As well as gaining extra experience by doing this, it is also extremely helpful for Torr Waterfield and my co-workers.

The benefits of hiring an apprentice

Hiring an apprentice can make the recruitment process easier and quicker for employers as training providers will help with pretty much the entire process such as filtering CV’s, finding and recruiting an apprentice, training and accessing funding.

The wage an apprentice earns is based on their age and the sector they work in which makes it far more cost effective than hiring older, skilled and qualified staff. The cost of training can also be fully government funded or contributed to, however this again depends on the age of the apprentice and the sector your business falls within.

For more information on becoming or hiring an apprentice you can visit https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships or call us on 0116 2423400 

Amy Fisher

Administrator/Reception_DSC1514

How to tell HMRC about your company car.

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You’ll pay tax if you or your family use a company car privately, including for commuting.

You pay tax on the value to you of the company car, which depends on things like how much it would cost to buy and the type of fuel it uses.

This value of the car is reduced if:

  • you have it part-time
  • you pay something towards its cost
  • it has low CO2 emissions

If your employer pays for fuel you use for personal journeys, you’ll pay tax on this separately.

If you need to pay tax on your company car, you can use HMRC’s online service to:

  • check your company car’s details
  • tell HMRC about any changes to your car since 6 April
  • update your fuel benefit, if your employer pays for fuel

You’ll need:

  • the car’s list price (including VAT and accessories) – you can get this from the manufacturer or your employer
  • CO2 emissions information
  • your National Insurance number the first time you sign in

You can do this here. You will need a HMRC online user id and password

When you can’t use this service

You can’t use the company car tax service if:

  • you’re part of a car averaging or car sharing scheme
  • your employer is managing benefits and expenses through the company payroll (known as ‘payrolling’)

Contact HMRC or your employer to update your company car details if you can’t do it online.

Personal tax account

Signing in to the company car tax service activates your personal tax account. You can use this to check your HMRC records and manage your other details.

Check your tax code

Updating your company car details may change your tax code. Check or update this using your personal tax account.

If you would like any further information then please contacts us, 0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Becky Edwards, Payroll Manager 

New Lifetime ISA

The Lifetime Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a longer term tax-free account that receives a government bonus. The accounts will be available from today (6 April 2017). HMRC have produced a helpful guide on the account. Some of which is reproduced below:

Opening a Lifetime ISA

You can open a Lifetime ISA if you’re aged 18 or over but under 40.

As with other ISAs, you won’t pay tax on any interest, income or capital gains from cash or investments held within your Lifetime ISA.

Saving in a Lifetime ISA

You can save up to £4,000 each year in a Lifetime ISA. There’s no maximum monthly savings contribution, and you can continue to save in it until you reach 50. The account can stay open after then but you can’t make any more payments into it.

The £4,000 limit, if used, will form part of your overall annual ISA limit. From the tax year 2017 to 2018, the overall annual ISA limit will be £20,000.

Example – you could save:

£11,000 in a cash ISA

£2,000 in a stocks and shares ISA

£3,000 in an innovative finance ISA

£4,000 in a Lifetime ISA in one tax year.

Your Lifetime ISA won’t close when the tax year finishes. You’ll keep your savings on a tax-free basis for as long as you keep the money in your Lifetime ISA.

Lifetime ISAs can hold cash, stocks and shares qualifying investments, or a combination of both.

Government bonus

When you save into your Lifetime ISA, you’ll receive a government bonus of 25% of the money you put in, up to a maximum of £1,000 a year.

Withdrawals

You can withdraw the funds held in your Lifetime ISA before you’re 60, but you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge of 25% of the amount you withdraw.

A withdrawal charge will not apply if you’re:

using it towards a first home

aged 60

terminally ill with less than 12 months to live.

If you die, your Lifetime ISA will end on the date of your death and there won’t be a withdrawal charge for withdrawing funds or assets from your account.

Transferring a Lifetime ISA

You can transfer your Lifetime ISA to another Lifetime ISA with a different provider without incurring a withdrawal charge.

If you transfer it to a different type of ISA, you’ll have to pay a withdrawal charge.

Saving for your first home

Your Lifetime ISA savings and the bonus can be used towards buying your first home, worth up to £450,000, without incurring a withdrawal charge. You must be buying your home with a mortgage.

You must use a conveyancer or solicitor to act for you in the purchase, and the funds must be paid direct to them by your Lifetime ISA provider.

If you’re buying with another first time buyer, and you each have a Lifetime ISA, you can both use your government bonus. You can also buy a house with someone who isn’t a first time buyer but they will not be able to use their Lifetime ISA without incurring a withdrawal charge.

Your Lifetime ISA must have been opened for at least 12 months before you can withdraw funds from it to buy your first home.

If you have a Help to Buy ISA, you can transfer those savings into your Lifetime ISA or you can continue to save into both – but you’ll only be able to use the government bonus from one to buy your first home.

You can transfer the balance in your Help to Buy ISA into your Lifetime ISA at any time if the amount is not more than £4,000.

In 2017/18 only, you can transfer the total balance of your Help to Buy ISA, as it stands on 5 April 2017, into your Lifetime ISA without affecting the £4,000 limit.

If you would like to discuss any of this further then please get in touch.  0116 2423400 or info@torrwaterfield.co.uk

Construction Industry – Subcontractor verification changes from 6 April 2017

Construction Industry – subcontractor verification’s

HMRC have confirmed in the latest Employer Bulletin that changes will be made to the verification of subcontractors in the construction Industry Scheme (CIS) from 6 April 2017.

From 6 April 2017, contractors must use an approved method of electronic communication to verify their subcontractors. So from 6 April 2017 HMRC will no longer accept any telephone calls to verify subcontractors and from then contractors must verify subcontractors using:

  • the free HMRC CIS online service, or
  • commercial CIS software.

This change is one of a series made to CIS to increase HMRC efficiency and accuracy, and to reduce administration. HMRC are also reminding contractors that they have also introduced additional features of the online system including the ability to amend returns online, and the addition of an online message/alert service.

Please contact us for help with CIS issues. 0116 2423400